Executive Director’s Corner
This past Monday, PFIR analyst Joe Guzzardi published an article titled, Amnesty is Always the Solution for Immigration Advocates in which he stated:
“But amnesty is like the proverbial cork; right after it’s submerged into water, the cork pops back up. In the more than two decades since 9/11, amnesties large and small have been defeated, but swiftly reappeared in other bills. Some amnesties have been introduced in Congress and were significant in their scope: the 2005 McCain-Kennedy bill and the 2013 Gang of Eight bill. Although heavily promoted as bipartisan and reformative, both nevertheless died in Congress. The most recent amnesty effort wasn’t as straightforward as the previous two. Although amnesty wasn’t advertised as its primary feature, Build Back Better still would have granted the biggest mass pardon in history, about 6.5 million aliens, and would cost taxpayers about $111 billion.”
Then, on Thursday at 5:55 a.m. Moscow time, Vladimir Putin ordered “specialized military operations” mobilizing Russian ground, air and naval troops to enter Ukraine. At this time, geographic gains, casualties and Russia’s overall intentions remain sketchy, but suffice to say a significant rearrangement of the geopolitical chessboard with all its implications will likely ensue.
Yet, despite the gravity of the situation and without any knowledge of the extent of the invasion’s impact, the good and pious folks at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) felt compelled to release a statement.
Just hours after military operations commenced, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of LIRS requested the Biden administration admit Ukrainian refugees with all due haste.
“The U.S. can also lead by example and live up to its highest ideals in welcoming more refugees fleeing violent conflict, including from Ukraine. The refugee resettlement system is precisely how we protect vulnerable populations, whether they are from Afghanistan or Ukraine. The Biden administration’s increase of the refugee ceiling to 125,000 coupled with low refugee arrivals to date with means there is ample room to welcome Ukrainians in search of safety. The administration must rebuild and streamline the refugee program’s processing capacity to prepare for this new humanitarian emergency.”
Talk about not allowing a crisis to go to waste and the “proverbial cork” that keeps popping up! Once again, it seems the solution to almost every crisis the U.S. has helped foment, is more immigration and eventually more amnesty.
And why not? Volunteer agencies like LIRS, Church World Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and others receive federal dollars to resettle refugees. More refugees equal more money! Plus, there’s a receptive audience for this message. There are those who believe immigration is a panacea for many of our economic woes especially now that fertility rates have fallen below replacement rates.
We incessantly hear the refrain that America is a country of immigrants and immigration makes America great. But is this true?
In The Decadent Society: How We Became Victims of Our Own Success, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat opines that immigration has been useful and can continue to be useful in raising innovation, productivity, and cultural creativity but only to a point. With great clarity and understanding he brilliantly sums up our predicament.
“And since migrating to a wealthy country can be a humanitarian and economic blessing for the migrant, the whole deal seems like a win-win—economically and morally both. Up to a point, this makes sense. Up to a point, the economies that have welcomed immigrants have tended to grow faster than those that haven’t. Up to a point, immigration (in some forms) is linked to (certain kinds) of cultural creativity and innovation. But as a technocratic solution to the economic problems created by post familialism, mass immigration is a double-edged sword. It replaces some of the missing workers but exacerbates intergenerational alienation and native-immigrant friction because it heightens precisely the anxieties about inheritance and loss that below-replacement fertility is heightening already. It delivers the promise of a more dynamic future, potentially, than the future promised by low birthrates, but for natives who are aging and whose communities aren’t thriving, it also suggests the benefits of that imagined future belong increasingly to people who seem culturally alien, to inheritors who aren’t your natural heirs, to other people’s children and grandchildren rather than the dwindling numbers of your own.”
The U.S. State Department’s plate is full managing the ramifications of the Russian invasion and our response, so dealing with potential refugees outside of ensuring their safe shelter in neighboring countries should register as nothing more than a blip on their radar. Yet, LIRS’ appeal demonstrates the prevailing and myopic view that somehow immigration is the solution to all ills one can imagine.
And so it goes. If you want to rein in inflation, end the labor shortage, improve healthcare delivery – just bring in more immigrants!
The past week’s events have put the U.S. and our allies in a quandary. How we weather it will be predicated upon our ability to cope with a pending natural gas shortage and other strains brought about by sanctions. The situation we find ourselves is emblematic of an even bigger problem. The world has been slow to wake up to the notion we can’t have infinite growth on a planet with finite natural resources. To this I would proffer, immigration to the U.S. is not a long-term solution.
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